Kristina Johnson – University of Seville, Spain, 2011-2012

 


 

Kristina Johnson – University of Seville, Spain, 2011-2012

 

          

 

There are many great opportunities to study abroad but many people do not take advantage of these opportunities because they are often afraid to put everything they know aside for something entirely different. When I said my goodbyes to my friends and family on September 11th, my journey to Sevilla, Spain began. 

Once I stepped foot off the plane, I became a nervous wreck. I remember my palms were abnormally sweaty and I felt as if my heart was going to jump right out of my chest. I then walked to baggage claim and about a million things were running through my mind all at once. I kept thinking about each and every worst case scenario that could happen. Finally, I saw a woman smiling from ear to ear holding a sign that read “Kristina” and I could not be any more relieved. Professor Encarnación Sánchez Lissen greeted me with a huge hug and a warm spirit. She then took me to the housing residence where I would be staying at temporarily and even paid for my first night. She went out of her way to help me, calling people asking about apartments for rent and even had her friend accompany me to visit an apartment. I think the first week was the hardest for me, I was in a hurry to find an apartment and on top of that it had to be close to my faculty and in my price range. After about 3 days I found an old house in the Grand Plaza that was being renovated with 6 available bedrooms. After seeing the place, I immediately had my heart set on it, the place was beautiful and it was for a great price too.



 

I now live with five other students, two students from Spain, Miguel and Paula, one student from France, Charlyne, and two students from Italy, Noemi and Valentina. I really could not be happier, my roommates are all very nice and we are all really patient when trying to understand each other. I have made so many Spanish friends, as well as friends from almost every other country. 

I really could not ask for better landlords either, a few weeks ago they took me to their cabin in Ubrique, Spain and I had the time of my life. We explored the cities that were nearby and went into two caves. I have also been to Punta Umbria, which is a beach in Huelva. I took a bus there with a group of Italian girls and it was a lot of fun! The weather was perfect for the beach and it was the beginning of October. It’s incredible how different the weather is here, it is just now starting to cool down, and while Wise is probably experiencing snow, we are still in the mid 60s. 

There is something very charming about Seville; the city has so much beauty and character to it. I have spent quite a bit of time taking long walks admiring the beautiful architecture. It is incredible how different the lifestyles are. I feel as if the Spanish lifestyle is a lot more relaxed than the United States, and I kind of admire that aspect to life. It allows people to relax and enjoy what is in front of you instead of worrying about what you are going to do next. Most stores also close from two to six and banks are only open in the morning. Lunch is generally at two or three and dinner is usually closer to nine or ten. 

So far, studying abroad has been quite an experience for me, I have had some of the best times and yet some of the worst. One thing that was kind of hard for me to get used to was transportation. In the United States, most people have cars. If I wanted to go somewhere in the United States, I would just go. Here in Seville, a lot of people rely on public transportation, or travel by bicycle. During my first month here, I accidently took the wrong bus, and to make matters worse the bus was on its last route for the night. Long story short, I ended up East of Seville and I had to get a taxi which ended up costing me about 20 Euros. I will never make that mistake again. Another thing that was hard was getting used to speaking Spanish all the time. In the United States I could communicate with pretty much anyone and I would almost always understand them. At first, it was difficult to understand because of some people’s very strong Andalusian dialect but now I often find myself catching onto the dialect myself! 

Overall, Seville, Spain has been an amazing experience for me, I have learned so much in such a short period of time. I could not be happier with my choice to study abroad and I am so grateful for those who helped me get here in the first place. 

I am working on getting an online photo album together and as soon as I am finished I will send it to you all, it might take a few days because I have taken hundreds of pictures! 

Un abrazo!

Kristina Johnson 

 

Photo Album